by Mateo Peralta
Lil Yachty was in Minnesota last week for one of the stops on The Field Trip Tour, and I had the opportunity to photograph during the show. The show took place at The Fillmore, located in downtown Minneapolis. It was my first time at The Fillmore, and it did not disappoint. The venue claims to have a capacity of 1,500 people, but it felt like there could have been even more. While it is a smaller venue, they do an incredible job of making it feel like a larger venue, which adds a lot to the experience.
One of the benefits of a smaller venue is that wait times are much lower. There was no line when I arrived, and in Minnesota, that makes a big difference, especially for the coming winter months. After I picked up my media credentials, I went inside and found the entrance to the photo pit. In the concert industry, common practice allows you to shoot the first three songs, no flash, generally applying to the headliner and sometimes one of the openers. There were no restrictions for the first opener I saw, and the one that excited me the most, the Concrete Family, a collective of artists in Yachty’s circle, including Camo, Draft Day, Moe, and Karrahbooo. They came out one by one, each performing some of their own songs and some of their collaborations. Their energy really set the tone for the night.
The last opener ahead of Lil Yachty was Nick Hakim. He gave an emotional singing performance, which came to the surprise of the younger crowd, many who had come to the show expecting a full rap concert. He struggled to maintain the crowd’s attention as they awaited Lil Yachty, but delivered a great performance nonetheless.
Finally, it was time for Lil Yachty. The lights turned off, and Yachty’s all-women band took the stage. The band includes singers Lea Grace Swinson and Romana Saintil, drummer Monica Carter, bassist Téja Veal, guitarist Quenequia Graves, and pianist Kennedy Avery Smith. The band was a main feature on his recent album “Let’s Start Here,” and were the key piece of the show, as they added incredible musical elements to every song performed like the harmonies from the background vocalists or the richness of the live instrumentals. Every Yachty experience has shown his improvement as an alternative rap artist. As he becomes more accomplished, he swells in confidence on stage and his crowd engagement becomes remarkable.
Lil Yachty performed five songs from his recent album “Let’s Start Here,” before diving into his older music that many came for. His older music is also more special to me because it takes me back to my early high school days, when “SoundCloud rap” was first becoming a thing, and when Yachty first arrived on the scene. I was (and still am) a big fan of his music and artistic expression, both of which have set him apart from others in his field. Interestingly enough, this was my fourth time seeing Yachty live, but my first in my hometown of Minneapolis. He is a great artist and great performer, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to see him live in person.
If you aren’t familiar with Lil Yachty, or just want to learn more about him, check out our NewMusica playlist, updated with some of our favorite songs from him!